March 22nd, 2009
08:58 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama says Geithner's job is safe

President Obama has expressed confidence in Timothy Geithner's role as Treasury secretary.

President Obama has expressed confidence in Timothy Geithner's role as Treasury secretary.

(CNN) - President Obama says Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s job is safe, according to excerpts of Mr. Obama’s interview this week with CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

If the embattled Secretary were to submit his resignation, Obama said he’d tell him, “Sorry, Buddy, you’ve still got the job,” according to the excerpts.

Obama told CBS that neither he nor Geithner has discussed a possible resignation from the Treasury Department.

Geithner has faced increasing criticism since it was revealed that ailing insurance giant AIG doled out massive bonuses to executives after accepting more than $170 billion from the federal government.

In response to the criticism, Geithner told CNN’s Ali Velshi, Geithner defended his actions, but said he should have known about the scale of the problems sooner.

The president told CBS that criticism is natural, especially given the scope of the financial crisis his administration is facing.

Obama also shot back at former Vice President Dick Cheney’s criticism of some of his administration’s policies.

"How many terrorists have actually been brought to justice under the philosophy that is being promoted by Vice President Cheney? It hasn't made us safer. What it has been is a great advertisement for anti-American sentiment," Obama told CBS.

Since taking office in January, Obama has announced plans to close the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to halt the military trials of suspected terrorists there, and to make CIA officers follow the Army Field Manual's rules on interrogations. Cheney said the administration appears to be returning to the pre-2001 model of treating terrorism as a law enforcement issue, rather than a military threat.

Cheney last week told CNN’s John King that Obama is making some choices that he thinks “will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack."

CBS’ interview with Obama was taped Friday and will air Sunday.

Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama • Tim Geithner
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. Neva

    I am a fan of President Obama.

    I also believe in fiscal conservatism. The debt Obama/Geithner are creating is very scary. Religious Republicans are more scary.

    The government owns AIG (majority owner). In a corporate takeover, purchasers usually spend significant time on due diligence, checking for lurking surprises, making adjustments to the deal, or walking away if necessary - preparing for shareholders' approval.

    The buck stops with Geithner, CFO of AIG's new owner. He should have known and made full, true and plain disclosure of the outrageous bonuses for his shareholders' (taxpayers') approval. He should have insisted that the takeover was contingent on a new executive management slate and no bunuses.

    Now, his CEO, who, unlike most CEO's, has admitted culpability, sees fit not to fire him, so let's move on and let them untangle their web. In four years the majority AIG shareholders (taxpayers) can fire them both, if they continue to screw up.

    March 22, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  2. SD,Michigan

    If the Pres listened to the bashers who think they're "experts" every single time, we'd have a new Treasury Sec every 3 weeks. Get a grip.

    March 22, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  3. EDR

    Thanks you PJS. Perhaps you are right, but you would hope that the "Change" people voted for would be change for the better, not worse. We need new leadership in every corner of Washington.

    March 22, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  4. Gary

    It has only been a few short months since we endured an administration that had no idea what caused the current economic crisis or what actions will restore the economy. At that time, the money changers responsible for the crisis were celebrated as 'the chosen' of our society. As major sectors crumble, there is a sense of urgency to act, but without clear precidence, it isdifficult to know what should and can be done. Obama and Geithner have been cast into roles as emergency medical technicans standing over a badly mangled accident victim. Action may cause harm, but inaction will result in great long-term suffering, possibly death. We allow them to act or stand around waiting for divine intervention.

    March 22, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. annie - Palin 2012

    One more thing then I will get off of here. The reason I am supporting Gov. Palin, so far, is she is one of the very few politicians that I have seen so far that is not bred & born to be a politician. She is down to earth and works for her citizen rather than trying to destroy them. Maybe if we put a 'net worth' limit on people running for congress and definitely 'term limits' we might actually get some people who are working for the taxpayer and not themselves.

    March 22, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. Jay

    Whenever the boss has to run defense - things are not good.

    – D'ja ever note the resemblance of the Treasury Secretary to South Park's "Tweek?"

    March 22, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  7. David


    When you're in debt you don't keep spending to restore financial health. You cut back. This administration is on a shopping spree.

    March 22, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  8. Alan M

    Is it not possible there is a non-partisan solution to our problems? Of course there is, but it appears that both parties are committed to slash and burn policies and then blaming each other. Bush/Cheney were horrible. As a life-long republican voter, I admit that. Their arrogance (especially Darth); their unwillingness to listen to dissenting voices (especially Bush); and their foolish decision to go to war with Iraq will affect us for decades.

    But Obama has yet had to deal with anything near the threat of 911 and must be given the chance to set the course he told us he would set. I did not vote for him but thus far he is doing everything he said he would do. And now Cheney ( it is terrifying to think that Cheney, Limbaugh and Palin have become the voice of conservatism) is out front criticizing. As a result, expect 16 to 24 more years of Democratic rule.

    Answers are in the middle, not at either extreme. I just pray that enough politicians have the courage to see that reality and to start acting on it; on both sides of the aisle.

    March 22, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  9. strong

    Change we can believe in. PFFFFFFT.

    March 22, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  10. Rumsfeld

    Considering the amount of time it took for the economy to implode, we need to be more patient and allow this to work. It wouldn't matter who held the Treasury job at this point, this will take time. To ask for Geithner's resignation would be short-sighted. We need to support the current administration and quit complaining.

    March 22, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  11. Chad

    Our founding fathers are rolling in their graves right now. Never in this country's history have we seen a more reckless and incompetent administration than this. Sad time for us, 2012 can't get here any sooner~!

    March 22, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  12. Alan M

    Annie, I was not bread and born to be a politician any more than she was and yet that is the lamest reason to make me President. Maybe Governor is the best she can ever hope for, not President. She represents "maconservatism" which is conservatism light. Is there not someone better lead from the Republican Party. If she is the 2012 nominee I predict a landslide for Obama. Let's move on and find a real leader, not a caricature of Republican feminism. (Oh where is Maggie Thatcher's American clone?)

    March 22, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  13. Steve

    Stinks like partisanship.

    Why can't we be Americans?

    Good Americans at that.

    The idiots on the fringes of both sides are getting the attention, and are a diversion from settling the issues.

    Keep it up idiots. Nothing solved.

    March 22, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  14. ken

    Is Obama going to go as far as saying Geithner is doing a "heck of a job"?

    March 22, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  15. Fitz in Texas

    Let's see, first we find out Geithner is a tax cheat. Now we know he's also very good at lying to the American people. He's way in over his head, just like the President. Hmmmmmmmm, wonder what else we'll find out about Geithner.

    Just remember Mr. President, you're known for the company you keep. Go ahead and stand by your man. I'm sure that will really help you in 2012.

    March 22, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  16. Harry

    OK Quite frankly think Americans truly don't understand what in the world we are doing. We blame the Bush administration for this economic mess. Maybe it is because most people don't remember past presidents sending engineering jobs over seas never to return. How about making it easier for folks to buy homes. Then compounded with a war that was pretty well planned by emotion and not fact. The media that label Obama a hero. YES they have is he held to a higher standard then Bush ....NOT even close. If a Republician had placed a cabinet with several tax dodgers in place...oh the field day that would have occured.

    Then there was the Sen Dodd adminition our tax money was knowingly allowing for bonuses.......Did the public know this NO if so do I think AIG would have gotten this money? No. Instead our new government acts just like the Bush Administration did and throws away the trying to push through a Bill of Attainder.

    What about Holder throwing away the Bill of Rights to appease Mexico. Please stop the madness. I am an Independent. How about some unbiased reporting. By the way if Rush is silenced you must silence Metzger (Racist ) Maddow, and everyone else who believes in freedom of speech........Just throw the Constitution away and welcome Chavez because next we will just execute those who disagree with the folks in power are always right.

    March 22, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  17. sally

    of course the job is safe, no surprises here; obama is a corporate man.

    March 22, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  18. Larry

    Run the country into bankruptcy defending this administration,it appears that Democrats love Obama more than the United States.

    March 22, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  19. Joanna

    Their foolish "war" got us into this economic mess. It has not made us safer. It has made us weak and vulnerable. It did nothing to help the USA. Osama got exactly what he wanted. Good job Bush? Cheney!!! Now all these other country are seeing there opportunity here. I want a trail for war crimes. That would help us be safe!

    March 22, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  20. ib

    Zion; I never said Bush was a good president but if you think he wasn't bashed by liberals from the time he took office then you live in a dream world. It is time for Obama to start taking credit for what he has done and has not done. It is time to let Bush- Cheney go and stop referring back to them ever time this adminstration screws up and it has been doing a lot of that since Obama took office. He still is trying to get people to take positions and how many have had to back out due to problems in their past??? Are liberals going to cover up for Obama by bringing up Bush for along as Obama is in office???

    March 22, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  21. rod

    It's an odd thing – when people write "lacking intelligence", no leadership exactly to whom are they referring, and what are they using as basis for comparison? I have rarely come across an intelligent person making such claims, which make me wonder who it is that comments.
    If you really believe you know how to make it all better again, you are truly amazing,unique, and unfortunately probably also a total idiot.
    But, if you really must comment, think on this, in 5 years time, when things are different ( may be better, maybe not) your comments will have exactly what value?
    It is so annoying, that I now feel obliged to comment.
    On my calculation it's been a handful of days to handle an enormous crisis, a couple of bad wars, incredible greed, an opposition that actually was, and may still be, a prime cause of the situation we are all in. They even have to deal with the IMF, who are prime example of misery and gloom – any steps forward are to be clouded with pessimism.
    Believe something – not every thing that the banks say is bad on their books, can possibly be bad. It would mean that nearly every decision they took was a bad one. Now just how possible is that? Someone is pulling strings out there – why not try and make sure it's not you.
    Housing market slumped? Well yes, may be so, but people have to live in houses still, so there is demand, and real the problem is to find a way to satisfy it.
    So what is Obama to do? There are plenty of people out there willing to be negative, who are really clever after the event, and are driven by dogma. The fact is that there are few people out there who can make a difference, and maybe some of these are not perfect, but you have to work with you've got.
    There is no magic wand, no magic lantern with a cheerful genie inside.. There is plenty of scope for mistakes, particularly when no-one has really seen a situation like this before.
    So when people are trying to find ways out of the holes others have dug, the way forward is to put your shoulders and back behind their efforts.

    March 22, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  22. walker7313

    This comment now makes me suspicious of Obama. Now I don't trust his judgment. I don't think he's behing honest with the American public. Why would he protect this guy?

    March 22, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  23. sally

    lori, how the republicans ruined this country. this country has this recurring morbid need to flipflop over which flawed way it should be run; clearly, nearly way is working or continue to struggle with the result of the other. as for what obama might be contended regarding gop bullying; this mess is ENTIRELY on obama and his pips; they have no idea what they are doing. I have a feeling you did not console bush when considering what he was dealing with clinton's legacy such as key deruglation and the lending woes startong on his watch and most importantly how many opportunities clinton refused to take to either seize or stop bin laden. there is no bullying going on here, just a country in a mess because either way we go it leaves us dissatisfied. but for sheep like you hell bent on your party's success spilling bucolic rubbish contributing to the problem by your lacky tendencies.

    March 22, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  24. peaceofmind

    I used to trust Obama's judgement. But now it just keeps getting worse and worse. Geithner is a joke and Gibbs is just abnoxious.

    March 22, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  25. Santa Maria

    Of course Obama's buddy is safe. Now for the millions of people losing their jobs...too bad...but don't worry, Obama's got the back of his millionaire amigos!

    March 22, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
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